Taiga Motors, the Canadian company behind the world’s first electric snowmobiles, presented their first electric personal watercraft, Orca. It represents the next phase in product development for Taiga and a new segment of personal watercraft, defined by conscious luxury, high performance and connectivity.
Taiga’s electric drive platform translates seamlessly to a jet propulsion system that sends the craft flying silently across the water with precise control. Orca features a full carbon fiber hull construction, clean puristic body lines and a floating seat made possible by the absence of a combustion engine. At under 600 lbs., ready to drive and up to 180 horsepower available with instant torque, the craft offers leading power to weight and agility for an unmatched ride experience.
Dynamic design: Form follows function
Orca was designed from a clean sheet to embody the elegant, powerful and playful characteristics of its namesake. Without the restrictions imposed by combustion engines, our designers were free to rethink traditional design practices that have constrained personal watercraft design over the past decades.
Orca introduces a new era of design sophistication for personal watercraft, from its aerodynamically sculpted body to its unique seat design and carbon fiber body. At the same time, it retains the unmistakable Taiga DNA, from the organic hyperbolic upper profile lines to the signature lateral fins.
The new suspended seat design highlights the reduced packaging height of the electric drive, allowing for the lowest center of gravity of any personal watercraft. For the rider this translates to enhanced stability and precision carving on the water. Adjustable sponsons allow users to easily adjust the ride dynamics from leisurely play to racing characteristics.
At 2.90 meters (9.5 ft.) long, 1.2 meters (3.9 ft.) wide and 1.01 meters (3 ft.) tall, the design breaks away from the tradition of building bigger and more powerful personal watercrafts. With up to 180 horsepower and under 600 lbs. ready to drive, the Orca delivers one of the highest power to weight ratios in the industry while remaining nimble, silent and practical for everyday use on the water.
Powerful efficiency: The electric drive for a new era of powersports
Taiga’s electric drive platform is at the heart of the shift towards a new era of powersports without compromise. Born out of the single-minded vision of enabling the best possible electric off-road vehicles, the platform was engineered from a clean sheet to deliver unyielding performance across snow, water and dirt trails. The shared powertrain architecture not only offers enhanced performance and reliability under extreme conditions, but also drives down costs across vehicle segments to make electric powersports accessible to all.
The performance package equipped Orca can generate over 134kW (180hp) for incredible acceleration and a top speed up to 104km/h (65mph). With a sub 5-milisecond response time, the drive delivers incredible control on any terrain. Precision impeller speed control is achieved to maximize efficiency and reduce noise levels under varying conditions. Unlike many electric vehicles, a high-power output can be sustained thanks to Taiga’s advanced thermal management system. The innovative closed loop cooling circuit running through the battery, motor and inverter has been tested to maintain temperature regulation from arctic to tropical conditions.
Orca’s lithium-ion battery runs on an automotive standard system voltage of 400 volt. This has the advantage of greater efficiency and, for the first time, brings automotive levels of reliability and safety to powersports. The sealed and vibration isolated battery has been designed to be safely operated across its lifetime under high shock loads, high humidity environments, and even under temporary submersion. The 23kWh battery capacity provides energy for up to two hours under typical drive conditions. Weighing in at approximately 125kg, the Orca’s battery delivers one of the highest energy densities of any electric vehicle and the most specific power for any battery of its size. Orca can be charged from a regular outlet for convenient overnight charging, from standard automotive chargers at a rate of up to 10kW, or by DC fast charging to 80% in 20 minutes for high throughput operators.
Redefining personal watercraft reliability and convenience: Just unplug and play
No more trips to the gas station, no more hauling fuel down to the dock or spills into the lake and no more engine maintenance; Orca redefines the experience of owning a personal watercraft. Spend an afternoon on the water, charge overnight, unplug and repeat. Orca will keep delivering year after year so users can focus on what matters- escaping into the great outdoors and sharing unforgettable experiences with friends and family.
Careful attention has been paid to every aspect of the design for a seamless user experience. A closed loop cooling system designed for Taiga snowmobiles means no winterization is required. The auxiliary systems have been designed for extremely low quiescent currents so that the vehicle can be left unplugged up to 5 years while still periodically waking itself to check on systems. Users will no longer have to disconnect their 12V batteries for fear of draining them. Going one step further, Orca will be backed by an industry leading 5 year no-maintenance powertrain warranty and remote diagnostics anywhere they are sold.
Controls & connectivity
It’s time for personal watercraft users to experience a display in line with automotive standards. Between Orca’s handlebars lays a color integrated digital display, the first of its kind. Everything that matters is now accessible and configurable to the user in one place. Behind the dashboard is a powerful onboard computer offering intelligent connectivity via built in GPS mapping, LTE, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Users can choose from a full suite of integrated sensors from water temperature to cameras and sonar to explore their environment.
From the dashboard or the connected app, users can adjust vehicle parameters for their perfect ride. Connected Orca users will also benefit from continuous updates to their vehicles as the latest advancements are made available via remote updates.
A craft like no other: Tailored to every driver
From the inside out, Orca rewards those leading the charge towards a sustainable future. Customers can customize Orca’s exterior elements to their specific preferences. Seat upholstery will be available in a variety of durable high-end fabrics and colors. Beyond a set of 10 stunning base colors, Orca’s bodywork is offered in an almost limitless color options with metallic and pristine gloss finishes. Deck mat textures and colors can be selected to complete the look. Customization doesn’t stop at the factory; riders can adjust, tune, and lock in a wide range of drive parameters to find their perfect ride.
Environment: Exhilaration without compromise
The heated debate over personal watercraft use in bodies of water shared by homeowners, marine life, and other recreational watersport enthusiasts has been active since the late 90s. At the heart of the controversy is pollution and noise levels. Although manufacturers have made the switch to cleaner 4- stroke engines, a modern personal watercraft produces up to 16 g/kWh of hydrocarbons (HC) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) and 300 g/kWh of carbon monoxide (CO). This is more than 80 times the EPA’s Tier 2 emission standards for automobiles. Their noise levels can exceed 90 dBA at distance of up to 100 feet, especially in wavy conditions when the jet impeller breaches the waters surface. Orca presents a solution to bridge the societal rift between those ultimately looking to enjoy a day by the water, producing 0 g/kWh of emissions and a quiet ride.
Rollout: The time for electrification is now
Taiga invites their first customers to own a piece of history. A watercraft like no other, the Orca model will be limited to a total production run of only 500 units. The first 100 Orcas produced will be badged Founders Edition models, featuring exclusive design elements and high-performance packages. Pricing of the exclusive founder’s edition will begin at $28,000 USD and will be delivered to North American customers in summer 2020.
Taiga will continue production with 400 Orcas starting at $24,000 USD that will be available to customers in North America and Europe for delivery shortly thereafter. Reservations are now open online for Orca and Orca Founders Edition.
This is the first step in Taiga’s mission to accelerate mass market adoption of electric alternatives. Owners of an Orca will proudly hold their place in history as having led the transition towards better watersports. Following Orca, Taiga will be entering the recreational personal watercraft segment with models priced below $14,000 USD and expanding their electric propulsion platform to bring electric inboard and outboard products to the boating industry at large.
Unveiled on Toronto’s Harbourfront
The Taiga Orca was unveiled on Toronto’s Harbourfront on Sept. 17. Guests were the first to see footage of Orca in action on North American lakes, demonstrating Orca is beyond the preliminary concept phase. Taiga is ready to deliver viable electric alternatives, because the “when,” is now.